$500m accounting trick: Morrison ignores Pacific calls to cut coal, promises funds for disaster resilience
SYDNEY, 13 Aug 2019 - Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced $500 million will be diverted from the Pacific aid budget to help nations invest in disaster resilience, after regional leaders called on Australia to “do everything possible to achieve a rapid transition from coal to energy sources that do not contribute to climate change”.
The announcement came after Pacific Island Forum leaders in Tuvalu called on the Australian Federal Government to take stronger action to reduce emissions, including phasing out coal-fired power generation.
“Scott Morrison’s announcement that he will divert $500 million from the Pacific aid program to help nations invest in ‘climate and disaster resilience’ is a slap in the face to regional leaders who have explicitly called on Australia to address its own soaring climate pollution,” Greenpeace’s Head of Pacific, Joseph Moeono-Kolio, said.
“The biggest driver of climate change is coal, and the Morrison Government remains obsessed with it. This $500 million accounting trick will do nothing to address the cause of the climate crisis that threatens the viability of the entire Pacific.
“Scott Morrison has no right to call the Pacific family as long as he continues to prioritise the profits of coal barons over the lives and livelihoods of millions of Pacific people.”
Mr Morrison arrives in Tuvalu for the leaders meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum tomorrow. Ahead of his arrival a group of Pacific leaders, headed by Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, held a climate change ‘Sautalaga’ (open discussion) where they called on Australia to do more to address the climate crisis.
“I appeal to Australia to do everything possible to achieve a rapid transition from coal to energy sources that do not contribute to climate change,” Mr Bainimarama said.
“We face an existential threat that you don’t face and challenges we expect your governments and people to more fully appreciate.”
Last week a number of Pacific heads of state, including Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga warned that the Australian Government’s step-up strategy would fail unless it included meaningful action to address the climate crisis.
“Pacific people see through this facade. We won’t solve the climate crisis by just adapting to it – we solve it by mitigating it, reducing emissions, investing and transitioning to renewables, not shirking our moral duty to fight,” Moeono-Kolio said.
“Scott Morrison refers to the Pacific as ‘family’, yet while our family home burns he is literally heaping more coal on the fire.”
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan
0424 295 422 / [email protected]